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Terrible boss puts one worker in the middle

DEAR AMY: My department at work is on its sixth boss in three years. The latest boss has made changes resulting in reduced morale to the point that some employees are looking for other jobs. My co-workers vent to me about the boss, and the boss vents to me about them. Some of my co-workers have gone to Human Resources and were told to deal with it, as this person is the "golden child." HR seems unwilling to do anything, which is unreasonable. HR even suggested they look for jobs elsewhere. The boss is in denial about the issues and thinks everything is fine. The issues are: Instructions are inconsistent, treatment is unfair, the boss claims not to recall certain things, and there is no trust. This boss doesn't admit to anything. I live in fear that the boss will retaliate against me if I am open and honest about what I know. I tell my teammates to find the good and accept what will not be changed. My question is: Do I tell my boss the truth and talk about effective leadership and management style?

-- Something's Gotta Give

DEAR GOTTA GIVE: Based on what you report about your workplace -- including your co-workers' and your boss' choice to vent to you -- it seems obvious that you would be a better manager than the boss.

Is staging a coup possible? Your terrible boss cannot be trusted to respond to your reasonable assessment in a reasonable way. Your boss will ignore your recommendations, then punish you for making them.

If there is any way to take your assessment over your boss' head, you should do so, but make sure you document everything, including specific examples.

However, you better have another job offer in your pocket when you do this, because it sounds as if your entire organization is flawed -- from the top down.

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